3 reasons why Vudu could be a serious alternative to Netflix Buzz this

Posted by Prasada Martala Feb 24, 2010

Wal-Mart's recent announcement to acquire Vudu has seen mixed reactions - ranging from how the retail giant could bring its trademark low-quality service to the online streaming distribution to how it makes perfect sense for Amazon to buy Netflix to compete with new Vudu - from analysts, industry and consumers. Wal-Mart's reputation for service quality notwithstanding, Netflix has every reason to worry about the deal. One of the key reasons why Netflix established itself as a key player in online movie streaming segment is the huge number of Consumer Electronics devices, including gaming consoles, high-definition TVs and DVD players that support Netflix's online streaming feature. But, its 'Watch Instantly' online streaming service has never been top-notch when compared to Amazon's Video-On-Demand or Vudu's online streaming service. Inspite of the streaming service being free for the Netflix customers, Netflix offers less than perfect solution for people who are looking for latest catalog of movies and TV shows to watch online in high definition.

Availability of new release DVDs: Netflix's agreement with Warner Bros. means the DVD rental company is not going to get the new release DVD and Blu-ray movies until 28 days after they are released by the studio. Add to this the Short wait, Long wait and Very long wait that Netflix customers usually experience with new DVD movies. This makes it almost 2 months for Netflix customers to rent a new release DVD movie. In contrast, Vudu customers can watch the movie online same day as DVD release. So, for someone who doesn't want to wait 2 months to watch a new release DVD movie and who doesn't mind paying few extra bucks, Vudu subscription is a compelling option.

Online streaming Quality: There is no doubt Blu-ray disc offeres best Video (1080p) and audio (7.1 surround sound) quality which can't be matched by either broadcast TV or online streaming services. But, when you compare the quality of online streaming content, Vudu's online streaming provides near HD quality (up to 1080i/1080p) than Netflix's Watch Instantly service (upto 720p). Also, Vudu's support for surround sound audio for streaming content and availability of more than 3000 HD titles makes it a better option for people who want instanteneous access to HD quality movies and TV shows.

Competitive pricing: Both pay-as-you-go and subscription pricing structures offer differnt options for customers in terms of how much media one wants to consume and how often. Wal-Mart, with its position as the biggest retailer and with reputation for low-cost products and services, can influence HDTV and DVD manufacturers to include its Vudu streaming service in as many devices as it could and negotiate better content deals with Hollywood studios so as to make its Vudu online movie service a better offering than Netflix. If Wal-Mart could provide more streaming catalog movies and TV shows on most of the available Consumer Electronics devices, there would be enough number of people willing to subscribe to its Vudu service so as to make its rental fees lower than that of Netflix.

A well executed online movie distribution by Wal-Mart through Vudu will give Netflix the need to improve its online streaming catalog quality and quantity or force it be an acquisition target.

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